Ruston Way in Tacoma is a great place for a little Puget Sound beach play or people watching. It’s two miles from end to end and is a popular place for jogging and roller blading. Once upon a time, the area got pretty lively after dark, but since the city cracked down on cruising, the hot wheels you’re most likely to see are on a bugaboo.
Even if you’ve lived here forever, I hope this little mini series will have some surprises.
I’m starting today at the end of Ruston nearest the freeway. After coming off the ramp, most folks drive on and stop near one of the area’s restaurants or head further down to access the beach. I’m going to suggest you immediately go over the train tracks and take a left. You’ll go over a crazy, bumpy section of road, but then you’ll see a little parking area under the freeway. It’s next to the future site of Chinese Reconciliation Park. Right now, you can see the pagoda and most of the future paths and gardens behind a chain link fence. It’s a bit of a hot mess. But, if you walk up a little path, you’ll be at the back side of Jack Hyde park, and you’ll have one gorgeous, eye-full of Puget Sound. You’ll often see folks climbing around the sun dial on the grassy hill and maybe doing a little sun bathing, but most folks don’t know that there is a plaza at Jack Hyde, along with a trail that wraps around for more views. It’s hardly ever crowded, and it’s a great place to take pictures.
Right next to Jack Hyde is your first chance to get on the beach at Ruston Way. It’s not a big chunk, but it’s sandy!
From here you may want to go back for your car and park it in a more public space before you enjoy walking down the sidewalk. The fishing peer is closed for repair, but there is another spot for the public to access the beach next to the Silver Cloud Inn along with a public dock. It’s technically another park, called Hamilton Park.
From there, you’ll go by Dickman Mill Park. Those old pilings in the water are from a former lumber mill. There is yet another spot to climb down the beach. This is a good one for finding driftwood.
After Dickman Park, a little restaurant row begins. Most of these offer better views than food (my opinion only), but their outside seating is nice if you have out of town guests in the summer. The most kid friendly is the good-old Ram. The kids’ meal is 5.99 and comes with a veggie (usually carrots) and a scoop of ice cream. Ask for a booth by the window and you can watch the marine traffic.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Part II, which picks up at the fireboat and goes all the way to our fav spot for old-fashioned ice cream treats!